Joe’s 2011 Goals

Jan 9, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Attitude, The business

At a recent holiday party, a close friend and incredibly talented actor gave me a surprising compliment.

“Joe, I’m proud of you,” he told me. “Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve always said you were going to do things, and you’ve wound up doing every single one of them!”

The remark left me speechless! Here’s a guy whose consistent artistic output and success I’ve admired since the day I met him, and he’s telling me he’s proud of me?! I managed to let out a series of very sincere “thank you’s,” but his words had rendered me otherwise stupefied.

I was stupefied because he was absolutely right, and I had failed to recognize it.

Here’s something you should know about me: I love accomplishing things. I can’t help it. It’s just who I am. While I certainly relish my time spent with my peers inside the proverbial rainbow, I’m always the one focusing on that pot of gold at the end of it. This sometimes causes me lose sight of the fact that I’m experiencing successes along the way. I love reading books and learning from them, but not nearly as much as I enjoy having read them. You get the idea.

My friend at the party was onto something. For example, my improv frame of mind two years ago was always “get ‘in’ at Second City,” and I have since learned how to improvise, completed a highly accredited training program, helped form an independent comedy troupe, and produced immensely successful shows with that troupe. While I still haven’t “gotten in” at Second City, those are all achievements to be proud of in themselves! That sort of accomplishment represents what it really means to have success in this industry: to work your butt off and let your efforts reward you with happiness and, potentially, further opportunity. End of story.

In 2011, my ambition will be as super-charged as ever, but it will be fueled, as always, by the specific “smaller” goals that I set for myself along the way. With that in mind, I’ve taken the time to clarify this year’s objectives as follows:

Acting as an Art

Goal #1 – Get my butt back to class!

I spent the first half of 2010 in improv and film acting classes, but my bank account eventually ran dry and I had to put the formalized training on hold. This year I will pick up where I left off, and continue to polish my craft in Chicago’s innumerable training centers. Specifically, I have my eye on the CORE Curriculum at Black Box Acting Studio, the improv program at The Annoyance Theatre, and the on-camera training at The Green Room Studio.

Goal #2 – Attend 12 acting-related workshops!

Most of the aforementioned training centers also offer workshops, and nearly all of them are reasonably affordable, if not free altogether! I will attend at least a dozen of these events and soak up everything I can from them!

Goal #3 – Find a great acting coach!

More than anything, I need to polish my audition technique, and I believe that some one-on-one focused training with an acting coach will help me build confidence and hone my rough edges. Sloppy theatre auditions have been my downfall since the beginning, but not this year! (Note: Even as I write this, I may have already accomplished this goal. I’ve been talking with the incredible Deanna Moffitt about coaching sessions, and it’s looking good!)

Goal #4 – Audition for 36 45 different acting projects!

Why 36, you ask? Well, that’s three auditions a month. Seems more than reasonable, don’t you agree? Especially if I’m booking them. 😉 Actually, this sounds almost too easy… Hmmm, better make it 45!

Acting as a Business

Goal #1 – Make every day count, and celebrate every victory.

A cliche? Yes. Important nonetheless? You betcha! This is one of those unquantifiable goals that my colleague Ben discourages in his incredible 2010 wrap-up, and rightfully so. That said, I’m going to strive for it anyway. I will give myself more credit for the “little things” I accomplish, and continue to use the momentum to propel me forward. There are things I can do every day to further my acting career. I intend to be bold about them.

Goal #2 – Submit my credentials to commercial and theatrical talent agencies 3 times.

I’m very ready to begin working with an agent, and I truly believe that it will happen in 2011. In Chicago, you should really only submit to the same agencies every 3 to 4 months, so I’m looking at March, July, and November as potential candidates. Of course I’ll continue to build relationships and get my foot in the door other ways, but I believe it’s important to also submit the traditional way as well, just in case.

Goal #3 – Create my film reel and get on iMDB.

This is a two-parter. In 2010, I worked in film for the first time, and I got several great chunks of footage for my demo reel. I will have my very first reel finished by no later than the end of February 2011. Additionally, I will continue to encourage the filmmakers with whom I work to submit their projects to film festivals and to I’m going to get my credits on that website if it kills me! It’s such a fantastic tool!

Goal #4 – Write at least 40 Playbills Vs. Paying Bills posts.

Last year, I set a goal of writing 100 blog posts. I wrote 27. Juuuuust a bit short. This year, I will deliver at least 40 posts, all while maintaining the quality of content that you’ve come to expect from You may even be surprised at some new things we have in store for you! (Spoiler alert?! Muahahaha….)

It’s safe to say that two major motifs have emerged from these goals: Learning, learning, learning! and Mind Your Business! So with that in mind, let’s get to it! And remember what I said earlier:

There are choices we can make every day to further our acting careers. Let’s be bold about them.


Joe Von Bokern is the Chicago contingent of this blog. Find out more information and view his materials on his website, or read the rest of his blog posts.